Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summa Plumma

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Plum. Plum. Plum-plum.

We're still hooked on plums around this pad. My sister brought me over a giganto bag full of fresh plums that she picked off her plum tree. There were probably a gazillion of them. Well not that many, but there were a lot.

Last year I made a plum pie. You can find that HERE.

This year, I have been quite a bit more lazy and instead of baking up a storm, I have just baked them a little.

I am sort of in love with this dish. I love how easy it is - I love how tasty it is - and I love how this dark purple little gems turn into this deep red gooey topping for ice cream or plain yogurt. Seriously, the sweet syrup that is ready to top something deelish, or even to eat on their own - is outstanding. It just makes me so happy to know that nature grows these jewels and with a bit of sweetness added to them makes the most amazing treat.

Baked Plums

Plums
Honey
Cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Wash as much plums as you want to add. I usually do up a batch of about 6-8 cups of plums. Cut them in half, and take out the pits. Place them in a baking dish.

Drizzle with a tiny bit of honey. 1 tbsp is plenty. Give it a good stir.

Top with a 1/2 tsp (or more) of cinnamon and stir it all in.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

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And that's it!

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 Serve warm or let cool a bit - over vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt. Put some in a little container and take for lunch the next day. Oh my.

I wanted to share this picture of plum that my friend Tracy took last year when we did a Dinner Cruise. We bought some of these the other day at The Root Cellar - and the colour of them and the sweetness that bursts into your mouth - almost brings tears to my eyes. I know! I know that it's weird, but I can't help it! I just love them so.

Dinner Cruise 2011-84.2

Alright - run and be free. Get ready for your Monday - because it will be over before you know it. TF!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fennel season.

Fennel.

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Sort of a cross between onion, celery, asparagus and black licorice.
It's heavy.
It's tasty.
It can be roasted.
It can be shredded in a salad.
You can use every part of it.

Last week I went to Zambri's for lunch and one of the appetizers we tried was roasted fennel with some sort of a cream sauce. I LOVED it. I had never had roasted fennel before. So, naturally, I thought - Challenge Accepted.

Then I realized that I had a ton of fennel tops leftover. I wasn't sure what I could do with it all but I felt badly for just tossing it. So, naturally, I thought - Challenge Accepted.

The following 3 dishes, were made from 3 fennel bulbs. I don't even know if that's what they are called. I don't really have recipes for them. I just sort of chopped, seasoned and cooked.

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Roasted Fennel

The tops were cut off. I cut the bottom off as well and then pulled off the layers. They are just like onions. Pre-heat the oven to 425. Place all of the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss it all together. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. The fennel will  caramelize and be oh so tasty.

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Salmon and fennel tops

Cut the tops off - the top almost looks like dill. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a salmon fillet, skin side down. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Then place of the fennel tops on top of the salmon. Top with lemon wedges. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes at 375. The fennel doesn't over power the salmon at all - and just gives it a refreshing flavour with the salmon.

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Sauteed fennel with red pepper

The fennel stalks are so much like celery. Chop then in to pieces. Chop a red pepper into pieces. Saute in a bit of olive oil, a tbsp of soya sauce and a tbsp of teriyaki sauce. Saute for abut 10 minutes - keeping it slightly crispy.

And that's it. All of that with 3 fennel bulbs.

Who knew?

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hubba Hubba

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Yesterday was my hubba-hubba husband's birthday. We had his besties in for his favourite dinner - Chicken Pot Pie. He could  probably live on that everyday. Oh wait. I wouldn't like that very much - because I would probably have to make it everyday. I just don't have the time. I am a very busy person. Very. Anyways, it was a great night. We sat outside the entire night - lit candles and turned on the twinkle lights. It's so hard to believe that summer is almost over and we were sitting outside with just tshirts (and pants), no jackets or blankets.

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We started with the easiest appetizer ever. Goat cheese with red pepper jelly - and some healthy crisps. Serioiusly! So easy.

And now for a recipe that I am so excited to share. I guess it's not really a recipe. It's more like a 'what can I put in a salad' idea. I don't have a picture of the dressing - but YOU HAVE TO try it. I am hooked on it so much that I am debating marrying it. You know it's good when...

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The Big Bowl Salad

This salad is inspired by Ferris' Oyster Bar. I had this salad with my friend Micki - who I saw the other night for the first time in years! It was so good to see her. Anyways - we went there for lunch years ago and she told me that I should try it. I did, and loved it.

Romaine lettuce - chopped
Fresh tomatoes - cherry or sliced into wedges
Shredded carrots
Yellow beets - peeled and thinly slicked
Pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
Chick peas - rinsed

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Last night we used the beets instead of the carrots and pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts. Place everything in a big bowl - and ta da!

Dill Feta Dressing

1/2 cup of  plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of fresh dill
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/3 cup feta cheese

In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add in the dill and chop that up too. Add in the yogurt, the lemon juice and mix it all up. Then add in the yogurt and mix it all up.  Drizzle this over the salad - and oh ya - you'll be in love.

Alrighty - it's time to get ready to sit on my Royal Canadian. I have the best day planned tomorrow. The very best. My besty all the way from Dublin is coming for a visit - and we're doing tea.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fresh creamy tomato pasta

Please don't make fun of me - but I think that I could seriously marry tomatoes, roasted tomatoes with roasted garlic and fresh basil in a tomato sauce. I just can't handle it. I just love the flavours. I can't get enough. I almost ate the entire sauce tonight without anything else, even cold. I had to refrain myself.

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These.

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Roasted with Okanagan Garlic, olive oil and kosher salt at 250 degrees for about 3 hours.

Removing the skins from the tomatoes and garlic to a food processor.

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Then adding in lots of fresh basil.

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Then pureeing into a creamy texture.

Adding it to a pan over medium heat, adding a bit of cream and freshly grated parm.

Makes this!

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Luvva. Luvva. Luvva.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blackberry Love

I'm not sure if you know but summer is almost over. Seriously! Can you believe it. I can't believe that today is September 8th. It seems like summer just started here at the end of July for us here in Vic. We had a beautiful August - filled with hot, sunny days - warm nights - awesome thunder and lightening shows. I will be sad when it is over for reals - but I will be in love with fall. I love fall.

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Right now my kitchen looks like a bit of a Farmer's Market. Well not really. I just like to pretend that I have a farm and bring in all the goodies. Right now I have picked quite a few of our tomatoes - but there are still so many more green tomatoes that I am hoping ripen before the warm weather ends. I have figs, plums and peaches from friends. Thanks friends!!! I am planning on making fig and plum relish or chutney (I haven't decided what I will call it just yet) tomorrow - and I have 'BYB' (Behind Yard Barb) coming to help with the canning part of it. She's got the tools she tells me.

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I also have garlic from a garlic farm!!! Our friends Steve and Alanna's (Happy Birthday Alanna) parents have  a garlic farm in the Okanagan.  Okanagan Garlic. They brought me back the Variety Pack - with 5 different types of garlic. I haven't tried any yet - but will be this weekend and for dinner on Monday with friends. I can't wait to check it out. And just in case you were needing some good garlic - you can buy it online. Love it!

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I also have a blackberry bush that just sort of popped up in the backyard. And, even though we pretty much just found it - we are pretty happy because the blackberries are deelish. I am going to try and figure out how to tame that crazy growing bush - so that it doesn't run wild and take over the entire garden. I am also going to try and tame it so that one of our other neighbours, who I will call 'E' doesn't have a conniption fit when it starts to grow and hang over the fence. E is quite lovely - but she doesn't enjoy 'things' going into her yard that shouldn't. And by 'things', I pretty much mean Jozie. Any chance that little critter can shimmy under the fence she's there. She usually just runs bazerk like she's escaped and has freedom - like a kid on the playground at recess - running in circles thinking that someone is chasing them - but really everyone is just standing around thinking 'What the heck is their problem and why are they running in circles'. When this does happen E is with a broom trying to take deep breaths while shooing her out. And I am running after her saying 'Jozie go home' and Jozie is running laps and thinking 'Oh man - look at them chase me now'. It's all very entertaining. However, E doesn't enjoy it. And now that the blackberry bush has 'moved in' I am sure that she will be wishing that her broom was a magic wand that would dissolve of that poor, helpless bush. 

Wow!

Alright - so if you have an over abundance of blackberries - and A. you don't want to share them with me, and B. you like sweet treats - you should make some blackberry frozen yogurt. When we were at Point Roberts this last time we went and picked the most deelish blackberries. All growing wild, right by the sea, super organic. 

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Frozen Blackberry Yogurt

3 cups of fresh blackberries
2 cups of yogurt - vanilla or plain
Honey - if you're using plain yogurt and you like it to be a bit sweeter
Water

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In a small pot add 1 cup of the blackberries, cover with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. You can use a spoon to break down the berries. Take them off of the heat and let them cool. Using a mesh strainer, strain the juice. 

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Add the yogurt into a shallow dish that can be refrigerated. If you are using honey and plain yogurt - give that a good whisk together before putting it in the dish. Then add in the blackberry juice. If you are like me - the colour will amaze you. Oh nature, I love you.

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Then add in your remaining fresh blackberries. Gently stir it all together.

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Place it in the freezer and stir about every 30 minutes until it is at the consistency that you like - and you are ready to eat it. If you're not ready to eat it - just keep it in the freezer. Pull it out a couple of minutes before  you're ready to serve it.

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This is such a nice treat any time of the day. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crunchify your burger!

These steps are very hard and difficult - and if you make it to the end without eating up all of the ingredients, you are my hero. HERO.

*Please note that you can do any of these steps in different order. No Rules!!

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1. Slice your hamburger bun in half. If you are patient, toast it. Smother it with some melted butter and toast it. I didn't do that, because I had no patience.

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2. Smother one side or both sides with homemade Chipotle Mayo. Find that HERE.

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3. Place a nice crisp piece of lettuce on top of the bottom side of the bun. I used romaine.

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4. Place a slice of tomato on top of the lettuce. Or two slices. Your mom will be very happy to see that you are eating your veggies.

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5. Place your grilled burger with melted cheese* on top of the veggies. These were turkey burgers. You can find that recipe HERE.

*Melted cheese. Yes! You are right that is a cheese slice. Oh man - please don't get me started. In all the time that I have lived on my own I have bought cheese slices twice. The first time was 'who knows when' - and the second was yesterday. I don't know what came over me. I was going for the cheddar - and saw these and just about had a panic attack trying to talk myself out of buying them. I love this sh*t. I can't help it!

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6. Top the melted cheese burger with potato chips. This is where you get your crunch on.

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7. Top the chips with the other side of the bun.


8. And you guessed it. ENJOY!!!!

Crunchified - is a type of burger that Bobby Flay offers at one of his restaurants. When I saw it on the tele - I just had to try it.

Loves.

Enjoy!



Monday, September 3, 2012

Figalicious

Figs.

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If you would have told me when I was 12 that I would have loved figs, I would have probably said 'Ya, right! Nojustjoking'. The reason that I typed 'Nojustjoking' together - is because I used to say that SOOO fast at pretty much the end of every sentence.  I think that it sort of sounded like 'njusjoka'. My dad used to make fun of me and say stuff like 'Cheryl if you don't hurry up you're going to be late -nojustjoking'. Or 'Cheryl what time is skating, nojustjoking'. It was odd. Not that my dad used to make fun of me - but because I used to say that. Thankfully I grew out of that. Probably when I was 14 or something.

Now I say things that are way more mature, like: 'Just joking'.

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Anyways, bag to figs. Seriously though - they would not have been appealing to me whatsoever. I would have turned my nose up at them and then when no one was looking tossed them.

Now - oh my. I love them. They are one of the most beautiful little gems. They are sweet, colourful, flavourful and so pretty.

I went fig picking last week. Ha - just joking. I went to my gf, Tracy's, and picked off her tree. She is so generous that she shared them with me. She knows of my addiction, and like a good friend - she helps feed it. If it was a bad addiction, she would not do the same. That's what bf's are for.

So, I have been busy with them. I also had a bunch when we were at Point Roberts from my mom's neighbour. She brought me over a huge bowl full. I made my mom's neighbours Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Pesto a couple of years ago - and I think that they want me to make it again. I really should.

So here are a few things that I have been making with them lately.

Prosciutto wrapped figs with goat cheese

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Slice a small x at the top of each fig (the pointy end) and fill it with about a tsp (maybe a bit more) of goat cheese - and then wrap each fig with a thin slice of prosciutto. Place them on a medium heated grill and grill for about 5 minutes, until the prosciutto is nice and crispy and the goat cheese is melted.

Figs and goat cheese with sliced ciabatta

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Not really a recipe - just do exactly what the title says. So deelish.

Fig infused vinegar

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I will tell you more about this when it is all done. Which is about 2 weeks. I can't wait to try it out.

And - I have made some popsicles as well - and they are setting - so when they are good to go - you know what I will do - post a pic.

Loves.

Enjoy!